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Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians

Ruins of ancient Corinth. Public Domain.
Ruins of ancient Corinth. Public Domain.

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Introduction to Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians

Toward the close of Paul’s ministry at Ephesus, the apostle received very disturbing news regarding conditions in the church at Corinth. It was reported that there were dissensions in matters of doctrine, immorality among the membership, and many other irregularities quite inconsistent with Christian principles. Paul immediately wrote a strongly-worded letter of admonition, calling upon the Corinthians to amend their ways. Unfortunately, this letter is now lost; but Paul clearly refers to it in a later message. (See I Cor. 5:9-11.) In any event, it would appear from what transpired later that this letter of admonition was completely ignored by the Corinthians.

However, a short time later some of the leaders and teachers in the Corinthian Church wrote to Paul—not mentioning his letter of admonition, but urgently seeking answers to some important questions concerning Christian conduct and doctrine. Apparently these questions had arisen in instruction classes or religious discussions at Corinth, and the local teachers had been unable to furnish satisfactory answers. Paul immediately replied by sending to them what we now term the Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians.

Introduction to Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians by Herbert J. Hunt, former Dean of Bible Studies for the Unity School of Christianity.

Purpose of the letter. In about 53 CE, three years after founding the church in Corinth, Paul writes to them in an attempt to restore harmony and unity among many different fractions. It was a cosmopolitan, somewhat crass city, located not far from Athens, filled with a cross-section of people, and this was reflected in the church, where there was a great deal of jealousy and animosity. Paul writes to bring unity and harmony.

Popular appeal of the letter. In this letter we have two of Paul’s best known chapters. First is chapter twelve, where Paul says that the church is one body with many members who have a variety of spiritual gifts, which are “activated by the one and the same Spirit” (12:11). This may be a metaphysical expression of the church’s faculty of order, by which it establishes harmony, balance, right adjustment, and right sequence of action (among the various gifts). Second is chapter thirteen, where Paul talks about the gift of love. When he writes that that love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” we may be hearing Paul’s understanding of the church’s expression of the faculty of strength, by which it has steadfastness, dependability, stability, and capacity for endurance.

Metaphysical Ministry. Besides these two well-known chapters, Metaphysical Christians will find three important ideas in the letter. First is Charles Fillmore’s identification of himself as a modern day Apostle Paul and what it says about metaphysical ministry. The commentary for 4:12 reads “He who once manifested as Paul the apostle is now expressing himself through another personality, right here in America.” He continues, “So if we assert that he who was once called Paul is among us, teaching and healing in a humble way, do not let these illusions of ecclesiastical education darken your understanding.” The ministry of Paul and Charles Fillmore have four common characteristics, based on Jesus’ sending forth the twelve disciples in Matthew 10: a ministry of healing, freely given; a vocation without any credentials or social status except having been commissioned by Jesus Christ; a reliance on freely-given love offerings; and a total disregard of rejection by critics. Charles Fillmore returns to this formula for ministry in chapter 9, verse 14. Commenting on “those who proclaim the Good News should live from the Good News,” he says, “The disciples of Jesus were not to take scrip or purse, but they were to meet the spiritual needs of those to whom they went.”

Spiritual unfoldment, metaphysically understood. The second important idea is an almost unnoticeable formula for spiritual unfoldment tucked away in chapter six, verse 11. Paul writes “but you were washed. But you were sanctified. But you were justified...” Calvinist theology holds that we are first justified by faith then sanctified by grace which slowly washes us of the effects of sin. But Paul in 6:12 and Charles Fillmore in his commentary place justification after sanctification and sanctification after washing (denial). In other words, justification is the end of a process, metaphysically known as “regeneration”, rather than the beginning of a process of reunion with God, which makes no sense to a metaphysician. The Unity commentary of October 29, 1939 reads: “Washed” is another word for “denied.” A “sanctified” person is a person set apart or completely dedicated to God in thought, word, and act. “Justified” has to do with a person’s vindication by faith in his indwelling Lord.

Harmony in spiritual worship. The third important metaphysical concept is the balance of masculine and feminine activity in the inner workings of the soul. Paul’s regrettable admonitions in chapter seven, “Directions concerning Marriage”, chapter 11, “Head Coverings”, and chapter 14, “Orderly Worship” run counter to our modern sensibilities of gender equality. The metaphysical Christian commentary offers a healthy way to approach these troublesome passages in a way that liberal biblical criticism and Evangelical biblical literalism are unable to provide. The key to the metaphysical approach is that “worship” is not an external ritual that takes place in a church but rather an internal process which takes place in the soul, where all persons, men and women, have both thinking and feeling processes. Paul’s passages in the letter offer valuable insight into how these thinking and feeling processes need to be in harmony. Further insight is obtained from biblical commentary by Jim Lewis about speaking in tongues, a feeling process, and the gift of prophecy, a thinking process.

Other insights. Many additional verses and annotations provide new insights into the letter from Paul, such as verse 6:15, declaring that our body (not only our soul) is a member of Christ; verse 7:21 declaring that if we get an opportunity to be free, use it; and verse 7:28, declaring that there is no need for sexual shame (oppression of the flesh).

Realized eschatology. Chapter 15 provides a capstone for Paul’s letter, declaring that Jesus Christ appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve; that Jesus did not leave the earth, but he did leave the consciousness of material conditions, which we call the earth. He is still in our midst in his eternal body, dwelling in another form.

Introduction to Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians by Rev. Mark Hicks.

First Corinthians 1

(Online: ASV WEB)


1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle1 of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes,2 1:2 to the assembly of God which is at Corinth;3 those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints,1 with all who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place, both theirs and ours:

1:3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

1:4 I always thank my God concerning you, for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus; 1:5 that in everything you were enriched in him, in all speech and all knowledge; 1:6 even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 1:7 so that you come behind in no gift; waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ; 1:8 who will also confirm you until the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1:9 God is faithful, through whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

  1. called to be an apostle, called to be saints. The call in each case corresponds to the urge that we feel to give up our petty personal will by merging it in the will of God. The higher will is identified with the perfect-human idea, Jesus Christ.
  2. Sosthenes. (sound strength; secure in strength) represents the idea of Christ as the saving, redeeming principle in us and as the unfailing strength of our life. The name is fittingly associated with the word of Truth (Paul).
  3. Corinth. (ornament, beauty), forty miles to the west of Athens, contained the Greek temple of Venus, which was dedicated to the worship of love. So we discern that it was at the love center in consciousness that the Truth sought to do a work. Paul here is referred to as the word of Truth, and Corinth is the love center. Paul wrote his matchless poem on love to the Corinthians. But this center was largely given over to licentiousness. Under the guise of religion, more than a thousand courtesans were attached to the temple of Venus at Corinth as assistants, says secular history. So the need of purification, and of the lifting up of the affections here at the love center in human consciousness, is very great when the word of Truth first enters to do its redeeming work. MBD/Corinth

Divisions in the Church

1:10 Now I beg you, brothers,[1] through the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfected together in the same mind and in the same judgment.1 1:11 For it has been reported to me concerning you, my brothers, by those who are from Chloe's household,2 that there are contentions among you.3 1:12 Now I mean this, that each one of you says, "I follow Paul," "I follow Apollos," "I follow Cephas," and, "I follow Christ." 1:13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized into the name of Paul? 1:14 I thank God that I baptized none of you, except Crispus and Gaius, 1:15 so that no one should say that I had baptized you into my own name. 1:16 (I also baptized the household of Stephanas; besides them, I don't know whether I baptized any other.) 1:17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Good News4--not in wisdom of words, so that the cross of Christ wouldn't be made void.

  1. speak the same thing, in the same mind, in the same judgment. The first manifestation of unity in Christ is in word ("that ye all speak the same thing"), the second in mind, and the third in judgment ("that ye be perfected together in the same mind and in the same judgment").
  2. Chloe's household. The household of Chloe represents spiritual thoughts of life and love that are increasing, harmoniously. Such thoughts quickly divine cross-currents that arise from a contentious frame of mind.
  3. contentions among you. They are divided among themselves over the subject of their entrance into the faith, that some who had come in through his preaching felt superior to others who had been converted by Apollos, that still others who held to the views of Cephas looked down on the brethren who had come into Christianity through other avenues. These thoughts are quick to sense the cross currents of a divided or contentious attitude of mind. They communicate the news of this inharmony to the word of Truth (Paul), so that by the activity of the word the cross currents may be eliminated and the love consciousness reestablished in the harmony of the Christ Spirit.
  4. For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Good News. Paul's ministry signifies the word of Truth in its work throughout the consciousness and the organism of man.

Christ the Power and Wisdom of God

1:18 For the word of the cross1 is foolishness to those who are dying, but to us who are saved it is the power of God. 1:19 For it is written,

"I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,

I will bring the discernment of the discerning to nothing."[2]

1:20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the lawyer of this world? Hasn't God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 1:21 For seeing that in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom didn't know God, it was God's good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save those who believe. 1:22 For Jews ask for signs, Greeks seek after wisdom,2 1:23 but we preach Christ crucified; a stumbling block to Jews, and foolishness to Greeks, 1:24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God3 is stronger than men. 1:26 For you see your calling, brothers, that not many are wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, and not many noble; 1:27 but God chose the foolish things of the world that he might put to shame those who are wise. God chose the weak things of the world, that he might put to shame the things that are strong; 1:28 and God chose the lowly things of the world, and the things that are despised, and the things that are not, that he might bring to nothing the things that are: 1:29 that no flesh should boast before God. 1:30 But of him, you are in Christ Jesus, who was made to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption: 1:31 that, according as it is written, "He who boasts, let him boast in the Lord."[3]

  1. word of the cross. The word of denial of the personal self, or the sense nature, which virtually everyone, in ignorance of this true self, has built up as the substructure of his life.
  2. For Jews ask for signs, Greeks seek after wisdom. The signs that the Jews demanded and the wisdom sought by the Greeks were both attempts to arrive at understanding of our essential unity.
  3. foolishness of God, weakness of God. These expressions serve to heighten the contrast between divine wisdom and worldly wisdom, divine power and personal power. The slightest degree of divine wisdom expressed by man is better than the highest degree of intellectual development he may make, and with power and might.

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Rev. Mark Hicks.

World English Bible Footnotes:

  • [1] v1:10. The word for "brothers" here and where context allows may also be correctly translated "brothers and sisters" or "siblings."
  • [2] v1:19. Isaiah 29:14
  • [3] v1:31. Jeremiah 9:24

First Corinthians 2

(Online: ASV WEB)

Proclaiming Christ Crucified

2:1 When I came to you, brothers, I didn't come with excellence of speech or of wisdom,1 proclaiming to you the testimony of God. 2:2 For I determined not to know anything among you, except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 2:3 I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 2:4 My speech and my preaching were not in persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,2 2:5 that your faith wouldn't stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

  1. I didn't come with excellence of speech or of wisdom. When he first came among them, Paul had made no display of worldly wisdom or oratory, but had determined to rely entirely on the power of the Christ consciousness to save men by crossing out all the counter-currents of personality.
  2. demonstration of the Spirit and of power. Paul “crossed out” weakness, fear, and “much trembling” by dropping all personality out of mind and being conscious of the Christ only. In this way he demonstrated the power of the Holy Spirit.

The True Wisdom of God

2:6 We speak wisdom, however, among those who are full grown; yet a wisdom not of this world, nor of the rulers of this world, who are coming to nothing. 2:7 But we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, the wisdom that has been hidden, which God foreordained before the worlds for our glory, 2:8 which none of the rulers of this world has known. For had they known it, they wouldn't have crucified the Lord of glory. 2:9 But as it is written,

"Things which an eye didn't see, and an ear didn't hear,

which didn't enter into the heart of man,

these God has prepared for those who love him."1[4]

2:10 But to us, God revealed them through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.2 2:11 For who among men knows the things of a man, except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so, no one knows the things of God, except God's Spirit. 2:12 But we received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might know the things that were freely given to us by God. 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual things.

2:14 Now the natural man doesn't receive the things of God's Spirit, for they are foolishness to him, and he can't know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 2:15 But he who is spiritual discerns all things, and he himself is judged by no one. 2:16 "For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he should instruct him?"[5] But we have Christ's mind.3

  1. God has prepared for those who love him. We have never seen, nor heard, nor even imagined all the marvelous, amazingly fascinating things that God will do for those who love Him, trust Him, and put His principles into practice–Thought Conditioners #34, Norman Vincent Peale.
  2. For the Spirit (pneuma) searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. Paul uses the word pneuma (spirit) several ways, but he usually speaks of Spirit as a power which is available to everyone.
  3. But we have Christ's mind. Man merges his consciousness with the Absolute through harmonizing all his ideas with the unlimited ideas of the Christ Mind. This is accomplished through understanding Divine Mind and its Laws. Man becomes conscious of Divine Mind through appropriating or thinking upon the ideas of Divine Mind.

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Rev. Mark Hicks.

World English Bible Footnotes:

First Corinthians 3

(Online: ASV WEB)

On Divisions in the Corinthian Church1

3:1 Brothers, I couldn't speak to you as to spiritual, but as to fleshly, as to babies in Christ.2 3:2 I fed you with milk, not with meat; for you weren't yet ready. Indeed, not even now are you ready, 3:3 for you are still fleshly. For insofar as there is jealousy, strife, and factions among you, aren't you fleshly, and don't you walk in the ways of men? 3:4 For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos," aren't you fleshly?

3:5 Who then is Apollos, and who is Paul, but servants through whom you believed; and each as the Lord gave to him? 3:6 I planted. Apollos watered.3 But God gave the increase.4 3:7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. 3:8 Now he who plants and he who waters are the same, but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 3:9 For we are God's fellow workers. You are God's farming, God's building.

3:10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I laid a foundation,5 and another builds on it. But let each man be careful how he builds on it. 3:11 For no one can lay any other foundation than that which has been laid, which is Jesus Christ.6 3:12 But if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or stubble;7 3:13 each man's work will be revealed. For the Day will declare it, because it is revealed in fire; and the fire itself will test what sort of work each man's work is. 3:14 If any man's work remains which he built on it, he will receive a reward. 3:15 If any man's work is burned, he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved, but as through fire.

3:16 Don't you know that you are a temple of God, and that God's Spirit lives in you? 3:17 If anyone destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him;8 for God's temple is holy, which you are.

3:18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone thinks that he is wise among you in this world, let him become a fool, that he may become wise.

3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, "He has taken the wise in their craftiness."[6] 3:20 And again, "The Lord knows the reasoning of the wise, that it is worthless."[7] 3:21 Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, 3:22 whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come. All are yours, 3:23 and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's.9

  1. On Divisions in the Corinthian Church. This is a lengthy letter and in it Paul discusses a variety of subjects. The first and most pressing was the unification of four factions that had arisen in the church, that is, those who follow Paul, Cephas (Peter), Apollos, and others who took the name of Christ. He reminds them that the Gospel is the good tidings of salvation through Christ to all. Christian teachers are divinely appointed and should work in harmony. One teacher should not be selected to the exclusion of others. How important is it for us to remember this! Each one has his own work to do in life, and in God's sight it is equal importance to that done by any person. The Lord will always give the increase if we are faithful to our given task. Be Ye Transformed, Elizabeth Sand Turner, p.95
  2. As to babies in Christ. The surest sign of the mental maturity in man or woman is the habit of self-reliance and quiet confidence.
  3. Apollos watered. Apollos represents a phase of understanding that, under intellectual thought, is likely to be hard and destructive because of zeal to put away error, apart from the loving thought of the Christ. Understanding waters the growing Truth, and so helps it along to fruition.
  4. God gave the increase. The realization that all things come of God and that one must look to Him and accept in faith all that one asks for or desires. The increasing, life-giving power of Truth is Spirit.
  5. I laid a foundation. Self-reliance is invaluable to man in building a Christ-like character because only a competent workman can erect a building in a workmanlike manner. One must know one’s work and must know that one knows it.
  6. foundation than that which has been laid, which is Jesus Christ. The perfect Christ foundation is laid in the ideal of every man's being, as he exists in Divine Mind. No other than this can be laid, but men build diverse superstructures upon it, each according to his bent.
  7. wood, hay, or stubble Negative thoughts that are of little, if any, value in character building and that fail to endure. For the most part they are not in any respect building material.
  8. If anyone destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him. God is working in us to bring into expression our perfect Self. To hinder this unfoldment would be sinning against God, defeating His plan.
  9. you are Christ's, and Christ is God's. The foundation of all spiritual truth is Jesus Christ and His doctrine.

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Rev. Mark Hicks.

World English Bible Footnotes:

First Corinthians 4

(Online: ASV WEB)

The Ministry of the Apostles

4:1 So let a man think of us as Christ's servants, and stewards of God's mysteries. 4:2 Here, moreover, it is required of stewards, that they be found faithful. 4:3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you, or by man's judgment. Yes, I don't judge my own self. 4:4 For I know nothing against myself. Yet I am not justified by this, but he who judges me is the Lord. 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each man will get his praise from God.

4:6 Now these things, brothers, I have in a figure transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that in us you might learn not to think beyond the things which are written, that none of you be puffed up against one another. 4:7 For who makes you different? And what do you have that you didn't receive? But if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?

4:8 You are already filled. You have already become rich. You have come to reign without us. Yes, and I wish that you did reign, that we also might reign with you. 4:9 For, I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last of all, like men sentenced to death. For we are made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and men. 4:10 We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You have honor, but we have dishonor. 4:11 Even to this present hour we hunger, thirst, are naked, are beaten, and have no certain dwelling place. 4:12 We toil, working with our own hands.1 When people curse us, we bless. Being persecuted, we endure. 4:13 Being defamed, we entreat. We are made as the filth of the world, the dirt wiped off by all, even until now.

  1. We toil, working with our own hands. "He who once manifested as Paul the apostle is now expressing himself through another personality, right here in America. It should be remembered, in discussing this character, that the real Paul and the ideal which the world today holds of Paul, are not the same. The illusions of hero worship are beyond all reason, and especially so when the hero has been sainted and a religious halo thrown about his character and his writings. A calm, unbiased perusal of Paul’s history, as recorded in his writings, will convince any one, who is not hypnotized by ecclesiastical assumptions, that he lacked much of being the saint that the church thinks him. As one of the early church fathers, his lot was hard—that of the disseminator of new and strange doctrines utterly opposed to those popularly accepted by the people. From the day that he adopted the ministry of Jesus Christ he was despised and persecuted, except by a few followers ... So if we assert that he who was once called Paul is among us, teaching and healing in a humble way, do not let these illusions of ecclesiastical education darken your understanding. Our word today that we know Paul is just as good as his was nineteen hundred years ago that he had seen and talked with Jesus of Nazareth, who was supposed to be dead." Paul Is Now Here, Charles Fillmore, Unity, August 1924.

Fatherly Admonition

4:14 I don't write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 4:15 For though you have ten thousand tutors in Christ, yet not many fathers. For in Christ Jesus, I became your father through the Good News. 4:16 I beg you therefore, be imitators of me.1 4:17 Because of this I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, even as I teach everywhere in every assembly. 4:18 Now some are puffed up, as though I were not coming to you. 4:19 But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord is willing. And I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power. 4:20 For the Kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.2 4:21 What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness?

  1. be imitators of me. As children imitate the parents because they know no one else so well, so followers of the Christ express the word of Truth wholeheartedly, because they know no other expression.
  2. For the Kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. The kingdom of God is revealed through a man's consciousness of power, rather than through the words he speaks. The latter may be empty, but power is self-revealing, and cannot be hidden. At some point, Unity's teachers began to focus on the language used in prayer rather than the the consciousness from which we pray. That is a most unfortunate mistake because the kingdom of God is not in word, but in the power of consciousness.

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Rev. Mark Hicks.

First Corinthians 5

(Online: ASV WEB)

Sexual Immorality Defiles the Church

5:1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles, that one has his father's wife. 5:2 You are puffed up, and didn't rather mourn, that he who had done this deed might be removed from among you.

5:3 For I most certainly, as being absent in body but present in spirit, have already, as though I were present, judged him who has done this thing. 5:4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, you being gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5:5 are to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

5:6 Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast leavens the whole lump?1 5:7 Purge out the old yeast,2 that you may be a new lump, even as you are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, has been sacrificed in our place. 5:8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old yeast, neither with the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

  1. a little yeast leavens the whole lump. The "leaven" represents limited thoughts. When we allow the finer forces of the body to go to fulfill lust and appetite, we are letting the leaven work to our undoing. When the mind is raised up through affirmations of God's omnipresent substance and life, we are not only fed but there is a surplus. MBD/Leaven.
  2. Purge out the old yeast. Whatever line of thought is received into consciousness goes on working until it is rooted out by another line of thinking or until it changes one's whole consciousness and manifests fully in the outer life. (cf. Matthew 13:33, Mark 8:15)

Sexual Immorality Must Be Judged

5:9 I wrote to you in my letter to have no company with sexual sinners; 5:10 yet not at all meaning with the sexual sinners of this world,1 or with the covetous and extortioners, or with idolaters; for then you would have to leave the world. 5:11 But as it is, I wrote to you not to associate with anyone who is called a brother who is a sexual sinner, or covetous, or an idolater, or a slanderer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner. Don't even eat with such a person.2 5:12 For what have I to do with also judging those who are outside?3 Don't you judge those who are within? 5:13 But those who are outside, God judges. "Put away the wicked man from among yourselves."[8]

  1. yet not at all meaning with the sexual sinners of this world. The distinction is drawn between “sexual sinners of this world” and “sexual sinners” who are fellow Christians. The latter are to be avoided more than the former for the reason that fellows in Christ are moved by the same spirit, and without faithfulness to the ideal of purity and honesty there can be no spiritual unity among so-called fellows. The standard of perfection is to be upheld without wavering.
  2. Don't even eat with such a person. Eating symbolizes the appropriation of substance, and no one can appropriate the substance of both Truth and falsity.
  3. For what have I to do with also judging those who are outside? Don't you judge those who are within? We are not to judge others those who are outside but is to busy ourselves with clearing up our inner conflicts.

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Rev. Mark Hicks.

World English Bible Footnotes:

  • [8] v5:13. Deuteronomy 17:7; 19:19; 21:21; 22:21; 24:7

First Corinthians 6

(Online: ASV WEB)

Lawsuits among Believers

6:1 Dare any of you, having a matter against his neighbor, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? 6:2 Don't you know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 6:3 Don't you know that we will judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? 6:4 If then, you have to judge things pertaining to this life, do you set them to judge who are of no account in the assembly? 6:5 I say this to move you to shame. Isn't there even one wise man among you who would be able to decide between his brothers? 6:6 But brother goes to law with brother, and that before unbelievers!

6:7 Therefore it is already altogether a defect in you, that you have lawsuits one with another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? 6:8 No, but you yourselves do wrong, and defraud, and that against your brothers.

6:9 Or don't you know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God?1 Don't be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexuals, 6:10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor extortioners, will inherit the Kingdom of God. 6:11 Such were some of you, but you were washed. But you were sanctified. But you were justified2 in the name of the Lord Jesus, and in the Spirit of our God.

  1. will inherit the Kingdom of God. Ten classes of those whose conduct is negative are mentioned as unable to inherit the kingdom of God. Those who do inherit the kingdom are those who enter consciously into the kingdom and through faithful affirmation of their divine nature develop power to express the better part and leave behind the lesser. Those who abandon themselves to the appeals of the sense consciousness or who make a fetish of externals and neglect to develop the inner life, cannot inherit what does not in any real sense belong to them.
  2. Washed, sanctified, justified. “Washed”, metaphysically, is denial of error and its effects. A “sanctified” person is a person set apart or completely dedicated to God in thought, word, and act. “Justified” has to do with a person's vindication by faith in his indwelling Lord. Note the the Fillmore commentary has justification following sanctification. Anyone who devotes himself to the ideal of the perfect life in and through the Spirit of the Christ is sanctified or set apart and dedicated to the service of God. “Justification” follows “sanctification” in that to be accepted as being right and as doing right can be only “in the name of the Lord Jesus, and in the Spirit of our God.” Any claim that rests merely on personal excellence is without supporting evidence or foundation in Truth.

Glorify God in Body and Spirit

6:12 "All things are lawful for me," but not all things are expedient. "All things are lawful for me," but I will not be brought under the power of anything. 6:13 "Foods for the belly, and the belly for foods," but God will bring to nothing both it and them. But the body is not for sexual immorality, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. 6:14 Now God raised up the Lord, and will also raise us up by his power. 6:15 Don't you know that your bodies are members of Christ?1 Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! 6:16 Or don't you know that he who is joined to a prostitute is one body? For, "The two," says he, "will become one flesh."[9] 6:17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit. 6:18 Flee sexual immorality! "Every sin that a man does is outside the body," but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 6:19 Or don't you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which you have from God? You are not your own, 6:20 for you were bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body2 and in your spirit, which are God's.

  1. Don't you know that your bodies are members of Christ? Our bodies are members, not only our souls.
  2. Therefore glorify God in your body. The body is “a temple of the Holy Spirit” and in order to glorify God, one must have a pure and healthy body, through which God's life and light and beauty may express. Paul's assertion is in line with the text given in Genesis when God blessed humanity in the beginning.

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Rev. Mark Hicks.

World English Bible Footnotes:

First Corinthians 7

(Online: ASV WEB)

Directions concerning Marriage

7:1 Now concerning the things about which you wrote to me: it is good for a man not to touch a woman. 7:2 But, because of sexual immoralities, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband.1 7:3 Let the husband render to his wife the affection owed her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 7:4 The wife doesn't have authority over her own body, but the husband. Likewise also the husband doesn't have authority over his own body, but the wife. 7:5 Don't deprive one another, unless it is by consent for a season, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer, and may be together again, that Satan doesn't tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 7:6 But this I say by way of concession, not of commandment. 7:7 Yet I wish that all men were like me. However each man has his own gift from God, one of this kind, and another of that kind.

7:8 But I say to the unmarried and to widows, it is good for them if they remain even as I am. 7:9 But if they don't have self-control, let them marry. For it's better to marry than to burn.

7:10 But to the married I command--not I, but the Lord--that the wife not leave her husband 7:11 (but if she departs, let her remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband not leave his wife.

7:12 But to the rest I--not the Lord--say, if any brother has an unbelieving wife, and she is content to live with him, let him not leave her. 7:13 The woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he is content to live with her, let her not leave her husband. 7:14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified in the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified in the husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. 7:15 Yet if the unbeliever departs, let there be separation. The brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us in peace.2 7:16 For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

  1. woman, wife, marriage. Although this chapter is addressing practical matters, a metaphysical interpretation should note that we are "made up of many men and many women, because the masculine and feminine qualities are equally distributed and they all work together in harmony when divine order is established." "Taking a wife" represents a unification of the I AM with the affections. Spiritually, "marriage" represents the union of two dominant states of consciousness. When we open the door of the mind by consciously affirming the presence and power of the divine I AM in our midst, there is a marriage or union of the higher forces in being with the lower and we find that we are quickened in every part; the life of the I AM has been poured out for us. See: MBD/woman, RW/wife and RW/marriage.
  2. God has called us in peace. "The eye of the storm is a center of calm in the midst of outer chaos. The peace of God centers me in a place of absolute peace and tranquility. The spirit of God within me is peace—peace that soothes and comforts me when I need it most. So if events in my life seem out of control or if others are trying to pull me into a whirlpool of activities that may not be what I want or need to do, I let God’s peace shine on me and on each situation. Then I know what to do and how to respond to both opportunities and challenges. I am poised and calm as I stay focused on the spirit of God within, the spirit of peace and love and harmony that will always bless me. Sheltered in God’s presence, I have peace in mind and heart." Daily Word, April 18, 2000.

The Life That the Lord Has Assigned

7:17 Only, as the Lord has distributed to each man, as God has called each, so let him walk. So I command in all the assemblies. 7:18 Was anyone called having been circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Has anyone been called in uncircumcision? Let him not be circumcised. 7:19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God. 7:20 Let each man stay in that calling in which he was called.

7:21 Were you called being a bondservant? Don't let that bother you, but if you get an opportunity to become free, use it.1 7:22 For he who was called in the Lord being a bondservant is the Lord's free man. Likewise he who was called being free is Christ's bondservant. 7:23 You were bought with a price. Don't become bondservants of men. 7:24 Brothers, let each man, in whatever condition he was called, stay in that condition with God.

  1. if you get an opportunity to become free, use it. "The very first step in this process that we're calling the art of thinking, is to know that no matter what happens in your world, no matter what happens out there, no matter what you read in the papers, no matter what is taking place around you or to you, you always have a choice. You always have a choice. You don't have to be angry. You don't have to be unhappy. You don't have to be worried. You don't have to be fearful. You can choose to think positively or creatively if that's the way you want. You can become the master instead of the slave. Oh, it's not easy. Now, let's not kid ourselves. It's not easy to take possession of our mind. To change from being a reflex thinker to a creative thinker it takes a lot of discipline, and will, and commitment because we've been thinking in the other way so long, but we can do so." Eric Butterworth, You Always Have a Choice, Practical Metaphysics, clip 32 (audio), page 61 (text).

The Unmarried and the Widows

7:25 Now concerning virgins,1 I have no commandment from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who has obtained mercy from the Lord to be trustworthy. 7:26 I think that it is good therefore, because of the distress that is on us, that it is good for a man to be as he is. 7:27 Are you bound to a wife? Don't seek to be freed. Are you free from a wife? Don't seek a wife. 7:28 But if you marry, you have not sinned. If a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such will have oppression in the flesh,2 and I want to spare you. 7:29 But I say this, brothers: the time is short, that from now on, both those who have wives may be as though they had none; 7:30 and those who weep, as though they didn't weep; and those who rejoice, as though they didn't rejoice; and those who buy, as though they didn't possess; 7:31 and those who use the world, as not using it to the fullest. For the mode of this world passes away.

7:32 But I desire to have you to be free from cares. He who is unmarried is concerned for the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; 7:33 but he who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife. 7:34 There is also a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world--how she may please her husband. 7:35 This I say for your own profit; not that I may ensnare you, but for that which is appropriate, and that you may attend to the Lord without distraction.

7:36 But if any man thinks that he is behaving inappropriately toward his virgin, if she is past the flower of her age, and if need so requires, let him do what he desires. He doesn't sin. Let them marry. 7:37 But he who stands steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but has power over his own heart, to keep his own virgin, does well. 7:38 So then both he who gives his own virgin in marriage does well, and he who doesn't give her in marriage does better.

7:39 A wife is bound by law for as long as her husband lives; but if the husband is dead, she is free to be married to whoever she desires, only in the Lord. 7:40 But she is happier if she stays as she is, in my judgment, and I think that I also have God's Spirit.

  1. Now concerning virgins. Again, Paul is dealing with practical issues. But virgins, spiritually considered, is found in Matthew 25, the Parable of the the Ten Bridesmaids. Spiritually, virgins represent the senses. "They are five in number, but have a twofold action--five in the inner realm, and five in the outer world. The way to supply oil for the lamps of the virgins, even of the foolish ones, is to affirm that the life source, Spirit, from which comes the power of hearing, smelling, feeling, seeing, and tasting, is not material but spiritual." MBD/virgins.
  2. oppression in the flesh. "Virginity, like purity, is a state of mind and of heart, and may exist even when the body has been violated. And though there have been sexual mistakes and people have lived in sexual indulgence for years, yet if the mind is pure and there is a complete turning away from the old life, the desire of one’s heart and the determined training of the mind out of the old lustful thinking, will result in that virginity of mind and heart which is one with the original purity of the Divine Self." Annie Rix Miltz, Generation and Regeneration, The Riches of Virginity.

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Rev. Mark Hicks.

First Corinthians 8

(Online: ASV WEB)

Food Offered to Idols

8:1 Now concerning things sacrificed to idols:1 We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 8:2 But if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he doesn't yet know as he ought to know. 8:3 But if anyone loves God, the same is known by him.

8:4 Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that no idol is anything in the world,2 and that there is no other God but one. 8:5 For though there are things that are called "gods," whether in the heavens or on earth; as there are many "gods" and many "lords;" 8:6 yet to us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we live through him.

8:7 However, that knowledge isn't in all men. But some, with consciousness of the idol until now, eat as of a thing sacrificed to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.3 8:8 But food will not commend us to God.4 For neither, if we don't eat, are we the worse; nor, if we eat, are we the better. 8:9 But be careful that by no means does this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to the weak.5 8:10 For if a man sees you who have knowledge sitting in an idol's temple, won't his conscience, if he is weak, be emboldened to eat things sacrificed to idols? 8:11 And through your knowledge, he who is weak perishes, the brother for whose sake Christ died. 8:12 Thus, sinning against the brothers, and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 8:13 Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will eat no meat forevermore, that I don't cause my brother to stumble.

  1. Now concerning things sacrificed to idols. Paul had been asked in a letter received from the Corinthian church whether or not one might eat meat, which had first been offered to idols. His letter in this chapter was a discourse along this line. Corinth formerly had been idolatrous, but had been converted to Christianity.
  2. we know that no idol is anything in the world. If one understands that there is no reality in idols, that they have no power, and that there is but one God, who is through all and in all, he is safe in whatever he does.
  3. their conscience, being weak, is defiled. Paul teaches that one who understands the truth should be an example in all that he does, to the end that those who are weak shall be strengthened and fortified by his good example; that conscience is really the rule or law for man's acts.
  4. But food will not commend us to God. Man in his spiritual identity is one with God. The union is not broken by material things. However, man's body is the temple of God and should be kept clean and pure, free from the lusts of the flesh.
  5. But be careful that by no means does this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to the weak. Paul gives a warning to Christian metaphysicians who feel their spiritual dominion and power over food and drink. Paul's final affirmation is verse 13: "if food causes my brother to stumble, I will eat no meat forevermore."

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Rev. Mark Hicks.

First Corinthians 9

(Online: ASV WEB)

The Rights of an Apostle

9:1 Am I not free? Am I not an apostle?1 Haven't I seen Jesus Christ, our Lord? Aren't you my work in the Lord? 9:2 If to others I am not an apostle, yet at least I am to you;2 for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

9:3 My defense to those who examine me is this. 9:4 Have we no right to eat and to drink? 9:5 Have we no right to take along a wife who is a believer, even as the rest of the apostles, and the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas? 9:6 Or have only Barnabas and I no right to not work? 9:7 What soldier ever serves at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard, and doesn't eat of its fruit? Or who feeds a flock, and doesn't drink from the flock's milk?

9:8 Do I speak these things according to the ways of men? Or doesn't the law also say the same thing? 9:9 For it is written in the law of Moses, "You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain."[10] Is it for the oxen that God cares, 9:10 or does he say it assuredly for our sake? Yes, it was written for our sake, because he who plows ought to plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should partake of his hope. 9:11 If we sowed to you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we reap your fleshly things? 9:12 If others partake of this right over you, don't we yet more?

Nevertheless we did not use this right, but we bear all things, that we may cause no hindrance to the Good News of Christ. 9:13 Don't you know that those who serve around sacred things eat from the things of the temple, and those who wait on the altar have their portion with the altar? 9:14 Even so the Lord ordained that those who proclaim the Good News should live from the Good News.3

9:15 But I have used none of these things, and I don't write these things that it may be done so in my case; for I would rather die, than that anyone should make my boasting void. 9:16 For if I preach the Good News, I have nothing to boast about; for necessity is laid on me; but woe is to me, if I don't preach the Good News. 9:17 For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward. But if not of my own will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me. 9:18 What then is my reward? That, when I preach the Good News, I may present the Good News of Christ without charge, so as not to abuse my authority in the Good News.

9:19 For though I was free from all, I brought myself under bondage to all, that I might gain the more. 9:20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain those who are under the law; 9:21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law. 9:22 To the weak I became as weak, that I might gain the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some. 9:23 Now I do this for the sake of the Good News, that I may be a joint partaker of it.

9:24 Don't you know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize?4 Run like that, that you may win. 9:25 Every man who strives in the games exercises self-control in all things.5 Now they do it to receive a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. 9:26 I therefore run like that, as not uncertainly. I fight like that, as not beating the air, 9:27 but I beat my body and bring it into submission, lest by any means, after I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected.

  1. Am I not an apostle? Metaphysically, apostles are "one sent forth; messengers; ambassadors; active spiritual thoughts." Jesus conferred this title on the Twelve whom He sent forth to teach and to heal ... The Grand Man, Christ, has twelve powers of fundamental ideas, represented in the history of Jesus by the Twelve Apostles.
  2. If I am not an apostle to others, at least I am to you. Metaphysically interpreted, this chapter may be the Apostle in Paul speaking to the sense consciousness in Paul.
  3. those who proclaim the Good News should live from the Good News. "For confirmation of the truth of the statement that they who serve in the Gospel should live of the Gospel, we refer you to the words that Jesus spoke to the twelve, and to the seventy whom he sent out to preach and make practical his teachings. These disciples of Jesus were not to take scrip or purse, but they were to meet the spiritual needs of those to whom they went; they were to heal the sick, to preach the glad tidings of the kingdom of heaven at hand. They were to accept graciously, in a true Christian spirit, such things as were provided by those to whom they ministered. Those who receive blessings are more richly blessed if they in turn give to their benefactors. Although Paul taught the same truth, on this subject, that Jesus had taught, the truth that was commanded in the law of Moses, yet he himself did not follow it, at least not with all the churches or people to whom he preached and ministered. Yet he continued to do the same things, though, as he intimated (verse 15), the more he did for people, taking nothing from them in return, the less was he appreciated and loved by them. Paul’s determination to accept nothing from the Corinthians for his services to them, increased his own sufferings and hardships and really cheated them out of the abundant good that would have come to them through their obeying the divine law of giving and receiving." Unity, Tithing, July 1925, pp3-4.
  4. those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize. The race that every man must run is that journey from sense consciousness to spiritual consciousness; through this process the corruptible flesh puts on incorruption. He is crowned with eternal life, come the fruits of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, light, gentleness, and unlimited abundance.
  5. Every man who strives in the games exercises self-control in all things. To exercise spiritual self-control requires mastery and dominion not only over the physical and the sense planes of consciousness, but also control over every thought, word and act. This can be attained only through a conscious union with the Spirit of God within man, which is Christ.

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Rev. Mark Hicks.

World English Bible Footnotes:

First Corinthians 10

(Online: ASV WEB)

Warnings from Israel’s History

10:1 Now I would not have you ignorant, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 10:2 and were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 10:3 and all ate the same spiritual food; 10:4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of a spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.1 10:5 However with most of them, God was not well pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

10:6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. 10:7 Neither be idolaters, as some of them were. As it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play."[11] 10:8 Neither let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them committed, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell. 10:9 Neither let us test the Lord, as some of them tested, and perished by the serpents. 10:10 Neither grumble, as some of them also grumbled, and perished by the destroyer. 10:11 Now all these things happened to them by way of example, and they were written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the ages have come. 10:12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands be careful that he doesn't fall. 10:13 No temptation has taken you except what is common to man. God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able, but will with the temptation also make the way of escape,2 that you may be able to endure it.

10:14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 10:15 I speak as to wise men. Judge what I say. 10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless, isn't it a sharing of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, isn't it a sharing of the body of Christ? 10:17 Because there is one loaf of bread, we, who are many, are one body; for we all partake of the one loaf of bread. 10:18 Consider Israel according to the flesh. Don't those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar?

10:19 What am I saying then? That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 10:20 But I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, and not to God, and I don't desire that you would have fellowship with demons. 10:21 You can't both drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You can't both partake of the table of the Lord, and of the table of demons. 10:22 Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?

  1. For they drank of a spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. Jesus said to Peter, "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church." Peter means a stone, and symbolizes the faith faculty in man; "this rock" is the indwelling Christ, and the "church" is spiritual consciousness. See MBD/pedahzur.
  2. the way of escape. "The seed of Truth is sown in consciousness by memorizing promises of God and statements of Truth. We may read passages that are uplifting, but unless the subconscious takes hold of the Truth that is read and makes it part of one's soul and body consciousness, the good seed take no deep root and they wither away. For this reason it is good to dwell upon Words of Truth until they are firmly fixed in memory. If they are once learned with deep faith and interest, they are like leaven; they work in the mind and body, quickening and nourishing the whole inner man. Then, too, in time of trial, or more properly speaking, in time of discipline, they come to consciousness, bringing comfort and cheer and healing when things in the outer seem to have failed." Unity, February 1915, Sowing the Seed, p.101.

Do All to the Glory of God

10:23 "All things are lawful for me,"1 but not all things are profitable.2 "All things are lawful for me," but not all things build up. 10:24 Let no one seek his own, but each one his neighbor's good. 10:25 Whatever is sold in the butcher shop, eat, asking no question for the sake of conscience, 10:26 for "the earth is the Lord's, and its fullness."[12] 10:27 But if one of those who don't believe invites you to a meal, and you are inclined to go, eat whatever is set before you, asking no questions for the sake of conscience. 10:28 But if anyone says to you, "This was offered to idols," don't eat it for the sake of the one who told you, and for the sake of conscience. For "the earth is the Lord's, and all its fullness." 10:29 Conscience, I say, not your own, but the other's conscience.3 For why is my liberty judged by another conscience? 10:30 If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced for that for which I give thanks?

10:31 Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.4 10:32 Give no occasions for stumbling, either to Jews, or to Greeks, or to the assembly of God; 10:33 even as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of the many, that they may be saved.

  1. All things are lawful for me. Paul places himself in the Absolute, and recognizes that man is above the law when he realizes and acts from the standpoint of his spiritual selfhood. The Absolute is not bound by the relative; the Lawmaker is above the law. Men often catch sight of this truth and proceed to carry it out in their lives. They say, “It does not matter what we do; we can dissolve the results of our acts by denial, and stop the working out of the law.” Many crimes have been committed in the name or this kind of reasoning. “The end justifies the means, is based upon it. Regular confessions for sins that are committed with the expectation of confession and forgiveness, are in line with it, and the modern metaphysical practices of bringing about external results to prove the power of the “science,” are based upon an evasion of the law.
  2. but not all things are profitable. We must take into consideration the rights of others. “Let no man seek his own, but each his neighbor’s good.” If this law were always applied, there would be no interference with human liberty. We should beware how, in our zeal to help people, we interfere with their liberty. Not only should we discern the law in the Absolute, but also its relation in the lives of those who are in the consciousness of the relative.
  3. eat whatever is set before you, asking no questions for the sake of ... the other's conscience. An intelligent application of the Law cultivates a right spirit, makes one broad-minded, forgiving, tactful and harmonious in all the affairs of life. Cultivating the Christ spirit makes one positive in Truth. And to all that seems incomplete from his viewpoint he quietly says, “suffer it to be so now,” at the same time keeping himself poised in his spiritual mastery.
  4. do all to the glory of God. The teaching which harmonizes these seeming variances, is found in the admonition: “Do all to the glory of God.” If we are truly seeking to conform to the Divine Law, and to glorify the Spirit in manifestation, we shall not go far wrong. One should have as an ideal the Absolute Truth and should endeavor to fulfill the Law in all activities. In applying the Law, Divine Wisdom and Love should decide all things. Unity, September 1921, Sunday Lesson, pp.234-5.

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Rev. Mark Hicks.

World English Bible Footnotes:

First Corinthians 11

(Online: ASV WEB)

Do All to the Glory of God (continued)

11:1 Be imitators of me, even as I also am of Christ.

Head Coverings1

11:2 Now I praise you, brothers,2 that you remember me in all things, and hold firm the traditions, even as I delivered them to you. 11:3 But I would have you know that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman3 is the man, and the head of Christ is God. 11:4 Every man praying or prophesying,4 having his head covered, dishonors his head. 11:5 But every woman praying or prophesying with her head unveiled dishonors her head. For it is one and the same thing as if she were shaved. 11:6 For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered. 11:7 For a man indeed ought not to have his head covered, because he is the image and glory of God, but the woman is the glory of the man. 11:8 For man is not from woman, but woman from man; 11:9 for neither was man created for the woman, but woman for the man. 11:10 For this cause the woman ought to have authority on her head, because of the angels.

11:11 Nevertheless, neither is the woman independent of the man, nor the man independent of the woman, in the Lord.5 11:12 For as woman came from man, so a man also comes through a woman; but all things are from God. 11:13 Judge for yourselves. Is it appropriate that a woman pray to God unveiled? 11:14 Doesn't even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him? 11:15 But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her, for her hair is given to her for a covering. 11:16 But if any man seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither do God's assemblies.

  1. This difficult passage should be read together with all of chapter 14. There, Paul reveals an inner truth about masculine and feminine phases of the soul in the dynamics of inner stillness. Paul will pick up the discussion in chapter 14 where he considers the inner dynamics of speaking in tongues, prophecy and orderly worship.
  2. brothers. This gender specific translation is gender neutral in other modern translations.
  3. man, woman. Man is "an idea in Divine Mind; the epitome of being. The apex of God's creation, created in His image and likeness" (RW/man). Woman is "the feminine phase of man... She signifies the intuitive perception of Truth reflected into the intellect from the soul. She also represents the unspiritualized love that is natural to the body" (RW/woman).
  4. praying or prophesying. This difficult pericope may be interpreted metaphysically and the interpreter should note that Paul is addressing the inner dynamic of masculine and feminine phases of the soul while in the silence.
  5. in the Lord. In the higher state of consciousness.

Abuses at the Lord's Supper

11:17 But in giving you this command, I don't praise you, that you come together not for the better but for the worse. 11:18 For first of all, when you come together in the assembly, I hear that divisions exist among you, and I partly believe it. 11:19 For there also must be factions among you, that those who are approved may be revealed among you. 11:20 When therefore you assemble yourselves together, it is not the Lord's supper that you eat.1 11:21 For in your eating each one takes his own supper first. One is hungry, and another is drunken. 11:22 What, don't you have houses to eat and to drink in? Or do you despise God's assembly, and put them to shame who don't have? What shall I tell you? Shall I praise you? In this I don't praise you.

  1. it is not the Lord's supper that you eat. The Lord's supper symbolizes the appropriation of spiritual life and spiritual substance by the twelve central faculties of man (the twelve disciples). Eating is symbolical of mental appropriation of thoughts of substance. "Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy words were unto me a joy and the rejoicing of my heart" (Jer. 15:16) (RW/eating).

The Institution of the Lord's Supper

11:23 For I received from the Lord that which also I delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night in which he was betrayed took bread.1 11:24 When he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "Take, eat. This is my body, which is broken for you. Do this in memory of me."2 11:25 In the same way he also took the cup,3 after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood.4 Do this, as often as you drink, in memory of me." 11:26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death5 until he comes.

Cf. Matt. 26:26-30; Mark 14:22-26; Luke 22:15-20,39

  1. bread. Represents the “flesh of Christ,” divine substance. It is the outer form of the inner substance.
  2. do this in memory of me. Everything that is done for the sake of attaining the Christ consciousness in an outer as well as an inner sense is “in remembrance” of Him, the perfect expression of the Christ idea. We take these mighty ideas into the silence and really clothe these ideas with life and substance. We have a mighty work to do here. We must actualize these ideas and realize each of these ideas is a mighty magnet functioning in God-Mind. Thus we are transforming the soul and really unfolding the divine spiritual body.
  3. the cup. The cup of which Jesus drank was the cup of new spiritual life. When man affirms spiritual life, he must be prepared to incorporate that life in soul and in body. This incorporation is not always an easy task, because man's faculties are often inert and indifferent to spiritual ideas.
  4. new covenant in my blood. Blood of divine life, the quickening element in creation. “The blood is the life.” The Children of Israel were commanded to pour out the blood of animals offered in sacrifice and by no means to drink it. Jesus, on the contrary, said that, unless we ate His flesh and drank His blood, we had no life in us. We are to drink, to take within ourselves, the Spirit of life that animated Him, and come into an awareness of eternal life through this Spirit.
  5. proclaim the Lord's death. Spiritual communion. Through spiritually eating the body of Jesus Christ and spiritually drinking His blood, we appropriate in consciousness the imperishable substances of Spirit, and we drink of the waters of eternal life. When the mind continues in this process it will eventually raise the whole body out of death into life; then man will realize what Jesus meant when He said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my word, he shall never see death.”

Partaking of the Supper Unworthily

11:27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks the Lord's cup in a manner unworthy1 of the Lord will be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. 11:28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread, and drink of the cup. 11:29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, if he doesn't discern the Lord's body. 11:30 For this cause many among you are weak and sickly, and not a few sleep.2 11:31 For if we discerned ourselves, we wouldn't be judged.3 11:32 But when we are judged, we are punished by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. 11:33 Therefore, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait one for another. 11:34 But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest your coming together be for judgment. The rest I will set in order whenever I come.

  1. in an manner unworthy. Jesus said: “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation.” Prayer keeps the mind active along spiritual lines. When one's attention is directed to high ideals, the consciousness becomes so alive with spirituality that error thoughts are cast out and one is not tempted by the sensations of the flesh.
  2. not a few sleep. When man affirms spiritual life, he must be prepared to incorporate that life in soul and in body. This incorporation is not always an easy task, because man's faculties are often inert and indifferent to spiritual ideas.
  3. if we discerned ourselves, we wouldn't be judged. We obtain the best results by a daily going into the silence, and in the name of the great God-Demonstrator, Jesus Christ, appropriate and assimilate the substance and life of Spirit.

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Rev. Mark Hicks

First Corinthians 12

(Online: ASV WEB)

Spiritual Gifts

12:1 Now concerning spiritual things, brothers, I don't want you to be ignorant. 12:2 You know that when you were heathen[13], you were led away to those mute idols, however you might be led. 12:3 Therefore I make known to you that no man speaking by God's Spirit says, "Jesus is accursed." No one can say, "Jesus is Lord," but by the Holy Spirit. 12:4 Now there are various kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.1

12:5 There are various kinds of service, and the same Lord. 12:6 There are various kinds of workings, but the same God, who works all things in all.2 12:7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the profit of all. 12:8 For to one is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom, and to another the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit; 12:9 to another faith, by the same Spirit; and to another gifts of healings, by the same Spirit; 12:10 and to another workings of miracles; and to another prophecy; and to another discerning of spirits; to another different kinds of languages; and to another the interpretation of languages. 12:11 But the one and the same Spirit works all of these,4 distributing to each one separately as he desires.

Cf. Ephesians 4:7-13

  1. Now there are various kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. Those whose “gifts” or inherent talents are diverse and show the same Spirit. All may have the same Spirit, the desire to know the truth and to live accordingly, irrespective of differences in inherent talents or traits. Truth belongs everywhere, and no legitimate activity or bent can be outside its field.
  2. There are various kinds of workings, but the same God, who works all things in all. God has given all His attributes to man; it rests with each individual whether he expresses them or not. God is no respecter of persons.
  3. But the one and the same Spirit works all of these. Emilie Cady, in Chapter 11 of Lessons in Truth, Spiritual Gifts, writes, “Thus Paul enumerates some of the free “gifts” of the Spirit to those who will not limit the manifestations of the Holy One.” She believes the important thing is not discovering our gifts but rather accepting them. We limit our gifts by not fully trusting God, who “worketh ... as he will.”

One Body with Many Members

12:12 For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of the body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ.1 12:13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free; and were all given to drink into one Spirit. 12:14 For the body is not one member, but many. 12:15 If the foot would say, "Because I'm not the hand, I'm not part of the body," it is not therefore not part of the body. 12:16 If the ear would say, "Because I'm not the eye, I'm not part of the body," it's not therefore not part of the body. 12:17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the smelling be? 12:18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body, just as he desired. 12:19 If they were all one member, where would the body be? 12:20 But now they are many members, but one body.2 12:21 The eye can't tell the hand, "I have no need for you," or again the head to the feet, "I have no need for you." 12:22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. 12:23 Those parts of the body which we think to be less honorable, on those we bestow more abundant honor; and our unpresentable parts have more abundant propriety; 12:24 whereas our presentable parts have no such need. But God composed the body together, giving more abundant honor to the inferior part,3 12:25 that there should be no division in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 12:26 When one member suffers, all the members suffer with it. Or when one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

12:27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.4 12:28 God has set some in the assembly: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracle workers, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, and various kinds of languages.4 12:29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all miracle workers? 12:30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with various languages? Do all interpret? 12:31 But earnestly desire the best gifts. Moreover, I show a most excellent way to you.

  1. For as the body is one ... so also is Christ. Christ likened to the body because the Christ is the embodiment of all divine ideas, such as intelligence, life, love, substance, and strength. The Christ, the perfect man idea existing eternally in Divine Mind, is the true, spiritual, higher, self of every individual. This self is an entity as truly as the physical body is an entity.
  2. now they are many members, but one body. There is only one body of the universe, each individual being a member of that body. Therefore, the body of Christ cannot attain a perfect expression until each member, each individual, is spiritually quickened, and puts on the Christ perfection.
  3. But God composed the body together, giving more abundant honor to the inferior part. As the “single eye” sheds its rays of light through the whole body, through Christ, so God’s love yoked with wisdom, penetrates into every part and tempers and binds together all its members.
  4. Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. Our bodies are fashioned after the Christ body. As each cell of our body has within it the potentialities of the whole body, so are we potential Christs, and our bodies may be raised to the universal Christ body and become fit members of it, through following the law of God as did Jesus.
  5. God has set some in the assembly... [These are typically called gifts of the Spirit but they are really a list of those who possess gifts of the Spirit. An alternative list of gifts of the Spirit is given in Romans 12:6-8. They are not the same as the fruits of the Spirit given in Galatians 5:22-23. See annotations in Romans and Galatians for additional commentary.]

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Rev. Mark Hicks

World English Bible Footnotes:

First Corinthians 13

(Online: ASV WEB)

The Gift of Love

13:1 If I speak with the languages of men and of angels,1 but don't have love, I have become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal. 13:2 If I have the gift of prophecy,2 and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but don't have love, I am nothing.3 13:3 If I dole out all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned,4 but don't have love, it profits me nothing.

  1. tongues of men and angels. The “tongues of men” represent the expressions of intellectual knowledge; the tongues of “angels” represent the expressions of spiritual truths.
  2. the gift of prophecy. Metaphysically, the ability to foretell the outcome of mental causes. When intuition is developed, it enables its possessor to perceive the connection between cause, and effect and to grasp the underlying truth of conditions and knowledge beyond the average person's power to understand. The one whose intuitive powers are developed gains the power of prophecy through observation. “That which hath been (in cause) is that which shall be (in effect).”
  3. don't have love, I am nothing. God is love, so humans are love. Without love the I AM is nothing, no matter how great one's feats of faith.
  4. body to be burned. Being a martyr.

13:4 Love is patient1 and is kind;2 love doesn't envy.3 Love doesn't brag, is not proud,4 13:5 doesn't behave itself inappropriately,5 doesn't seek its own way,6 is not provoked,7 takes no account of evil;8 13:6 doesn't rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;9 13:7 bears all things,10 believes all things,11 hopes all things, endures all things.12

  1. is patient. A steady, quiet confidence in the Divine law of love.
  2. kind. Returning good for evil. Gentleman and ladylike.
  3. doesn't envy. Generous. Unless one gives oneself with the gift, love is not involved. Nothing is gained from mere giving. To be acceptable the gift must be made in the spirit of love.
  4. doesn't brag, is not proud. Not boastful or arrogant.
  5. doesn't behave itself inappropriately. Courteous, not rude.
  6. doesn't seek its own way. Unselfish, does not insist on its own way.
  7. not provoked. Of good temper, not irritable or resentful.
  8. takes no account of evil. Pure in heart. Love does not condone or ignore evil, but by recognizing only the good as real and true, it calls forth the good, and leaves what appears to be evil to vanish, as darkness vanishes with the coming of light.
  9. rejoices with (in, ASV) the truth. Joyful.
  10. bears all things. Unresentful.
  11. believes all things. Trusting, give your cloak to he who asks for your coat.
  12. endures all things. Never fails. Source: Charles Fillmore lesson August 24, 1919, Social Responsibility.

13:8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will be done away with. Where there are various languages, they will cease. Where there is knowledge, it will be done away with. 13:9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; 13:10 but when that which is complete has come, then that which is partial will be done away with. 13:11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child. Now that I have become a man, I have put away childish things. 13:12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face.1 Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, even as I was also fully known. 13:13 But now faith, hope, and love remain2--these three. The greatest of these is love.3

  1. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. To see through a glass darkly, means to see through the obstructed vision of the mortal; but to see “face to face,” means to see with spiritual vision, which is unobstructed, perfect.
  2. faith, hope, and love remain (abideth, ASV). Faith and hope lead to divine love in the heart, and love in turn helps us attain perfection as the Father is perfect.
  3. the greatest of these is love. Love is love greater than faith or hope because its full expression includes faith and hope, as well as love.

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Rev. Mark Hicks

First Corinthians 14

(Online: ASV WEB)

Gifts of Prophecy and Tongues

14:1 Follow after love, and earnestly desire spiritual gifts,1 but especially that you may prophesy.2 14:2 For he who speaks in another language3 speaks not to men, but to God; for no one understands; but in the Spirit he speaks mysteries. 14:3 But he who prophesies speaks to men for their edification, exhortation, and consolation. 14:4 He who speaks in another language edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the assembly.4 14:5 Now I desire to have you all speak with other languages, but rather that you would prophesy. For he is greater who prophesies than he who speaks with other languages, unless he interprets, that the assembly may be built up.

14:6 But now, brothers,[14] if I come to you speaking with other languages, what would I profit you, unless I speak to you either by way of revelation, or of knowledge, or of prophesying, or of teaching? 14:7 Even things without life, giving a voice, whether pipe or harp, if they didn't give a distinction in the sounds, how would it be known what is piped or harped? 14:8 For if the trumpet gave an uncertain sound, who would prepare himself for war? 14:9 So also you, unless you uttered by the tongue words easy to understand, how would it be known what is spoken?5 For you would be speaking into the air. 14:10 There are, it may be, so many kinds of sounds in the world, and none of them is without meaning. 14:11 If then I don't know the meaning of the sound, I would be to him who speaks a foreigner, and he who speaks would be a foreigner to me. 14:12 So also you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, seek that you may abound to the building up of the assembly.

14:13 Therefore let him who speaks in another language pray that he may interpret. 14:14 For if I pray in another language, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. 14:15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also.6 I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. 14:16 Otherwise if you bless with the spirit, how will he who fills the place of the unlearned say the "Amen" at your giving of thanks, seeing he doesn't know what you say? 14:17 For you most certainly give thanks well, but the other person is not built up. 14:18 I thank my God, I speak with other languages more than you all. 14:19 However in the assembly I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I might instruct others also, than ten thousand words in another language.

14:20 Brothers, don't be children in thoughts, yet in malice be babies, but in thoughts be mature.7 14:21 In the law it is written, "By men of strange languages and by the lips of strangers I will speak to this people. Not even thus will they hear me, says the Lord."[15] 14:22 Therefore other languages are for a sign, not to those who believe, but to the unbelieving;8 but prophesying is for a sign, not to the unbelieving, but to those who believe. 14:23 If therefore the whole assembly is assembled together and all speak with other languages, and unlearned or unbelieving people come in, won't they say that you are crazy? 14:24 But if all prophesy, and someone unbelieving or unlearned comes in, he is reproved by all, and he is judged by all. 14:25 And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed. So he will fall down on his face and worship God, declaring that God is among you indeed.

  1. desire spiritual gifts. See: Lessons In Truth, Spiritual Gifts.
  2. especially that you may prophesy. A prophet, in individual consciousness, is a thought that is in contact with Spirit, that receives revelations direct from the Holy Spirit; it knows and understands divine law and its working, therefore it warns and instructs the other thoughts (MBD/prophet). All humanity is given the gift of prophecy. "Whenever we become still enough to listen deeply we shall begin to feel the prophet faculty stirring" (Frances Foulks, Prophecy–Yesterday and Today, Unity, August 1938).
  3. speaks in another language (speak in a tongue, NRSV). Symbolizes increased ability to express Truth clearly and freely (RW/tongues).
  4. he who prophesies edifies the assembly. The purpose of prophecy is to edify. The assembly may be metaphysically interpreted as our thinking. Prophesies should edify our thinking.
  5. unless you uttered by the tongue words easy to understand, how would it be known what is spoken? in a position to explain it clearly to others (other thoughts). Scattered thoughts only bring scattered presentation of plans. (How I Used Truth Annotations, Lesson 9, Annotation 10).
  6. I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding (the mind, NRSV) also. A clear indicator that this chapter reveals more about the internal dynamic of prayer than about the practice of speaking in tongues. "God has given all of his transcending powers to man, and it rests with us whether we will express them or not. We may connect ourselves with the light of God or with the outer darkness, or with the realm of reflected light. There are many philosophies but only one truth; that is light, Divine understanding. The light of truth resolves everything into ideas. Those in understanding look upon the phenomenal world and interpret it from the ideas it represents, and not as it appears." Unity, September 2, 1917.
  7. don't be children in thoughts ... but in thoughts be mature. Jim Lewis cautions about the phenomenon of glossolalia: "The speaking in tongues is a phenomenon that developed in the early church after Jesus left. Jesus never spoke in this manner nor did His followers while He was here. It was associated with what they believed to be the Holy Spirit Baptism and was looked upon as a sign that the individual had become possessed by the Holy Spirit. It was believed that the Holy Spirit was an entity that came into a person and possessed him. This made the person feel good because he saw it as a sign that he was accepted by God. We should keep in mind that the speaking in tongues is not the most important part of the phenomenon; rather, the Holy Spirit Baptism is most important" (Jim Lewis, The Mystical Teachings of Christianity, Speaking in Tongues). See more from Jim Lewis below.
  8. other languages are for a sign ... to the unbelieving. Charles Fillmore cautions about those who claim spiritual mastery: "Certain persons called 'masters' have forged ahead of the race in their understanding and use of some of the powers of mind and have in personal egotism set up little kingdoms and put themselves on thrones. These so-called 'masters' and members of occult brotherhoods are attracting susceptible minds away from the "straight and narrow path" and leading them to believe that there is a short cut into the kingdom" (Charles Fillmore, Jesus Christ Heals, 19-20)

Orderly Worship1

14:26 What is it then, brothers? When you come together, each one of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has another language, has an interpretation. Let all things be done to build each other up. 14:27 If any man speaks in another language, let it be two, or at the most three, and in turn; and let one interpret.2 14:28 But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in the assembly, and let him speak to himself, and to God. 14:29 Let the prophets speak, two or three, and let the others discern. 14:30 But if a revelation is made to another sitting by, let the first keep silent. 14:31 For you all can prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be exhorted. 14:32 The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets, 14:33 for God is not a God of confusion, but of peace.

As in all the assemblies of the saints, 14:34 let your wives keep silent in the assemblies, for it has not been permitted for them to speak; but let them be in subjection, as the law also says. 14:35 If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home, for it is shameful for a woman to chatter in the assembly.3 14:36 What? Was it from you that the word of God went out? Or did it come to you alone?4

14:37 If any man thinks himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him recognize the things which I write to you, that they are the commandment of the Lord. 14:38 But if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant. 14:39 Therefore, brothers, desire earnestly to prophesy, and don't forbid speaking with other languages. 14:40 Let all things be done decently and in order.

  1. This chapter should be read together with chapter 11:2-16, Head Coverings. Charles Fillmore, who perceived himself to be a modern Paul, found in these difficult passages helpful ideas about the inner dynamics of prayer (orderly internal worship). The Fillmores often referred to the feeling nature as a feminine quality, found equally in men as well as women. If so, reading Jim Lewis would indicate that speaking in tongues is a feminine process; prophecy, the interpretation of tongues, is a masculine process, again equally shared by women and men.
  2. If any man speaks in another language ... let one interpret. Spiritually interpreted, Paul may be conveying that feelings, once expressed in the consciousness mind, need to be interpreted by the thinking nature. Although he is not specifically talking about an internal process of prayer, Jim Lewis writes about glossolalia in such a way that it conveys such a concern: "Speaking in tongues is a vocal attempt to express one’s deepest or highly repressed feelings. These expressions are often incoherent. The person is quite emotional and temporarily loses self-control. It is believed by him and those who favor this phenomenon that the individual is actually possessed by God, the Holy Spirit."
  3. for it is shameful for a woman to chatter in the assembly. We can read this painful passage as a warning to not allow our feelings to "chatter" in the assembly of our thinking. Jim Lewis continues, "Be very, very careful of being involved in group emotional experiences. These groups are widespread today and are led, in most cases, by well-meaning people. Even when it seems that these group experiences are for good purposes, however, we must recognize that some are offered by not-so-well-meaning individuals. Uncontrolled emotion can get us into difficulty faster than anything else."
  4. Was it from you that the word of God went out? Or did it come to you alone? We should be expressing the word of God, not the word of masculine intellect nor the word of feminine feeling. As Jim Lewis concludes: "In order to attain spiritual mastery as Jesus taught it, one must have balanced control and expression of his thoughts and feelings. This point is brought out in the mystical teachings of Paul. In the first part of I Corinthians, the eleventh chapter, he states, “Christ is the head of man and man is the head of woman.” He should have stopped there, for in his attempt to give a literal interpretation to a spiritual idea he received, he gets carried away—he mixes the spiritual with a literal interpretation. Christ is the guiding intelligence within all of us, for it is the Spirit of God within us. The intellect, man, should always be responsive and obedient to this guiding intelligence, and man, the intellect, should always control the emotional nature, woman. When the emotional nature influences the intellect, the person often has trouble, becoming involved in undesirable circumstances."

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Rev. Mark Hicks.

World English Bible Footnotes:

  • [14] v14:6. The word for "brothers" here and where context allows may also be correctly translated "brothers and sisters" or "siblings."
  • [15] v14:21. Isaiah 28:11-12

First Corinthians 15

(Online: ASV WEB)

The Resurrection of Christ

15:1 Now I declare to you, brothers, the Good News which I preached to you, which also you received, in which you also stand, 15:2 by which also you are saved, if you hold firmly the word which I preached to you--unless you believed in vain.

15:3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received:1 that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 15:4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day2 according to the Scriptures, 15:5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.3 15:6 Then he appeared to over five hundred brothers at once, most of whom remain until now, but some have also fallen asleep. 15:7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 15:8 and last of all, as to the child born at the wrong time, he appeared to me also. 15:9 For I am the least of the apostles, who is not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the assembly of God. 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am. His grace which was bestowed on me was not futile, but I worked more than all of them; yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.4 15:11 Whether then it is I or they, so we preach, and so you believed.

  1. that which I also received. Jesus Christ overcame all the sins of the flesh, saved His body from the tomb, and raised it to eternal life.
  2. raised on the third day. Christian metaphysicians see that His overcoming, the Resurrection, was not a miracle, but rather the outworking and fulfillment of divine law. Through faith and understanding they are overcoming many of the ills of mind and body, and they know by analogy that the final demonstration of the law will be perfect health, that is, continuous life in the body, spiritualized.
  3. He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Jesus did not leave the earth, but He did leave the consciousness of material conditions, which men call the earth. He is still in our midst in His eternal body, dwelling in another form.
  4. the grace of God which was with me. Paul was not given grace because he worked more abundantly than others, but because he was ignorant of the law.

The Resurrection of the Dead

15:12 Now if Christ is preached, that he has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?1 15:13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, neither has Christ been raised.2 15:14 If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, and your faith also is in vain. 15:15 Yes, we are found false witnesses of God, because we testified about God that he raised up Christ, whom he didn't raise up, if it is so that the dead are not raised. 15:16 For if the dead aren't raised, neither has Christ been raised. 15:17 If Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain; you are still in your sins. 15:18 Then they also who are fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 15:19 If we have only hoped in Christ in this life, we are of all men most pitiable.

15:20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead. He became the first fruits of those who are asleep.3 15:21 For since death came by man, the resurrection of the dead also came by man. 15:22 For as in Adam all die,4 so also in Christ all will be made alive. 15:23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then those who are Christ's, at his coming. 15:24 Then the end comes, when he will deliver up the Kingdom to God, even the Father; when he will have abolished all rule and all authority and power.5 15:25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 15:26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death. 15:27 For, "He put all things in subjection under his feet."[16] But when he says, "All things are put in subjection," it is evident that he is excepted who subjected all things to him. 15:28 When all things have been subjected to him, then the Son will also himself be subjected to him who subjected all things to him, that God may be all in all. 15:29 Or else what will they do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead aren't raised at all, why then are they baptized for the dead? 15:30 Why do we also stand in jeopardy every hour? 15:31 I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. 15:32 If I fought with animals at Ephesus for human purposes, what does it profit me? If the dead are not raised, then "let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die."[17] 15:33 Don't be deceived! "Evil companionships corrupt good morals." 15:34 Wake up righteously, and don't sin, for some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.

  1. no resurrection of the dead? If preachers say Jesus was resurrected from the dead then it must follow that all those who apply Jesus’ teachings will be resurrected also.
  2. neither has Christ been raised. If the law of resurrection were not universal, it would not have been possible for Jesus Christ to resurrect his body.
  3. the first fruits of those who are asleep. Paul affirms that Jesus Christ was the first fruits of them that had fallen asleep for lack of the constant inflow of new life from the fountainhead. Christ is the principle that quickens the life of Spirit in man. The sense mind is dead to spiritual values, but the Christ awakens it to them.
  4. For in Adam all die. When one's thoughts are out of harmony with divine law, cross currents are set up. In the Scriptures this condition is called sin. Sin results in death. The Adamic man, the natural man, broke the consciousness that the life current connected him with the parent life; Jesus Christ restored that union.
  5. abolished all rule and all authority and power. By establishing the Spirit of truth as the sole guide to conduct in human relations, the authority and dominion of earthly rulers will give place to the authority and dominion of God in Christ.

The Resurrection Body

15:35 But someone will say, "How are the dead raised?" and, "With what kind of body do they come?" 15:36 You foolish one, that which you yourself sow is not made alive unless it dies. 15:37 That which you sow, you don't sow the body that will be, but a bare grain, maybe of wheat, or of some other kind. 15:38 But God gives it a body even as it pleased him, and to each seed a body of its own. 15:39 All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds. 15:40 There are also celestial bodies, and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial differs from that of the terrestrial. 15:41 There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory.1

15:42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption. 15:43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 15:44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body and there is also a spiritual body.2

15:45 So also it is written, "The first man, Adam, became a living soul."[18] The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.3 15:46 However that which is spiritual isn't first, but that which is natural, then that which is spiritual. 15:47 The first man is of the earth, made of dust. The second man is the Lord from heaven. 15:48 As is the one made of dust, such are those who are also made of dust; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 15:49 As we have borne the image of those made of dust, let's[19] also bear the image of the heavenly.

15:50 Now I say this, brothers,[20] that flesh and blood can't inherit the Kingdom of God;4 neither does corruption inherit incorruption. 15:51 Behold, I tell you a mystery.5 We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 15:52 in a moment,6 in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed. 15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption,7 and this mortal must put on immortality.8 15:54 But when this corruptible will have put on incorruption, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then what is written will happen:

"Death is swallowed up in victory."9[21]

15:55 "Death, where is your sting?10

Hades[22], where is your victory?"[23]

15:56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 15:57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the Lord's work, because you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

  1. glories of the sun, moon, and stars. Spiritual life is greater than the material. Whereas the soul clings to material existence and fears the unconsciousness of the material that death brings, consciousness of spiritual life overcomes all such fear.
  2. spiritual body. See II Corinthians 5:1, a house not made with hands, annotation 1.
  3. life-giving spirit. A living soul is the individual consciousness of the self as one of the race in thought, feeling, and expression. The life-giving spirit is the expression of the Christ consciousness or idea of God.
  4. Flesh and blood can't inherit the kingdom of God. We are to develop consciousness of more than flesh and blood and thus put ourselves in contact with eternal life here and now.
  5. I tell you a mystery. The mystery of immortality, that eternal life subsists here and now as well as on the other side of death.
  6. we shall all be changed, in a moment. The change is one of consciousness.
  7. this corruptible must put on incorruption. The corruptible body is that which is subject to decay. When it is transformed into the spiritual body, it becomes incorruptible and is forever enduring (RW/corruptible).
  8. mortal ... put on immortality. By entering into and expressing the Spirit of the Christ we develop a consciousness of eternal life in the mind and heart.
  9. death swallowed up in victory. When the victory of the resurrection life is grasped and firmly held in faith, death is forgotten (swallowed up).
  10. where is your sting? resurrection has removed the fear of death as the inevitable end of life.

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Rev. Mark Hicks

World English Bible Footnotes:

First Corinthians 16

(Online: ASV WEB)

The Collection for the Saints

16:1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I commanded the assemblies of Galatia, you do likewise. 16:2 On the first day of the week, let each one of you save, as he may prosper, that no collections be made when I come. 16:3 When I arrive, I will send whoever you approve with letters to carry your gracious gift to Jerusalem. 16:4 If it is appropriate for me to go also, they will go with me.

Plans for Travel

16:5 But I will come to you when I have passed through Macedonia, for I am passing through Macedonia. 16:6 But with you it may be that I will stay, or even winter, that you may send me on my journey wherever I go. 16:7 For I do not wish to see you now in passing, but I hope to stay a while with you, if the Lord permits. 16:8 But I will stay at Ephesus until Pentecost, 16:9 for a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.

16:10 Now if Timothy comes, see that he is with you without fear, for he does the work of the Lord, as I also do. 16:11 Therefore let no one despise him. But set him forward on his journey in peace, that he may come to me; for I expect him with the brothers.

16:12 Now concerning Apollos, the brother, I strongly urged him to come to you with the brothers; and it was not at all his desire to come now; but he will come when he has an opportunity.

Final Messages and Greetings

16:13 Watch! Stand firm in the faith! Be courageous! Be strong!1 16:14 Let all that you do be done in love.

16:15 Now I beg you, brothers (you know the house of Stephanas, that it is the first fruits of Achaia, and that they have set themselves to serve the saints), 16:16 that you also be in subjection to such, and to everyone who helps in the work and labors. 16:17 I rejoice at the coming of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus; for that which was lacking on your part, they supplied. 16:18 For they refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore acknowledge those who are like that.

16:19 The assemblies of Asia greet you. Aquila and Priscilla greet you much in the Lord, together with the assembly that is in their house.2 16:20 All the brothers greet you. Greet one another with a holy kiss.

16:21 This greeting is by me, Paul, with my own hand. 16:22 If any man doesn't love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed[24]. Come, Lord![25] 16:23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you. 16:24 My love to all of you in Christ Jesus. Amen.

  1. Watch! Stand firm in the faith! Be courageous! Be strong! This verse is often quoted as an affirmation in metaphysical writings, for example: "Much of human difficulty is due to the fact that man has become inactive and submissive to conditions and circumstances which are born of human ignorance. There comes a time when he must arouse himself to positive action if he would shake off these shackles of human bondage." EV Ingraham, Prayer–It's Practice and It's Answer, 159
  2. the assembly (church, ASV, NRSV) that is in their house. An aggregation of healing, constructive thoughts that gather around the healing forces of nature, attracted by the truth that these forces serve.

Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Rev. Mark Hicks.

World English Bible Footnotes:

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